How to Communicate and Get Your Message Across Part II: Building a Content Plan

In this workshop, we will:

-Create a go-to content planner spreadsheet of what customers ask you
-Review the components of an optimal social media post
-Learn about Social Platforms / Apps you can use to build your online presence
-Learn how to create an educational video on the quick
-Understand what to blog about; the four components of a good blog post
-Walk away with a full content plan
-Large-scale Q & A for specific social media questions

Basic Business Tools Keeping Me Afloat (& They’re Free!)

Small business can be extremely overwhelming. I like to think I’ve become somewhat good at keeping it together but I owe it in (huge) part to the little pieces that rope it all in.






Small business can be extremely overwhelming. I like to think I’ve become somewhat good at keeping it together but I owe it in (huge) part to the little pieces that rope it all in.

Google Calendar

This has become my gospel on the day-to-day. It seems a simple tool but it really can do quite a lot for those of us who are feeling bogged down. It works both through mobile and desktop, so you can input meetings, deadlines, allotted work time – and occasionally a social event or two – whether you are out and about or behind your desk.

For me, I do the same work on Mondays and Tuesdays – content writing! So, it only makes sense to copy and paste the same event into my Calendar every week. Not with Google Calendar! You can actually repeat the event for as many weeks as you want or ending on a certain date. Have a recurring meeting or commitment? Try this tool out.

Google Calendar allows you to input the little details, from colour coating your meetings to location/address, to a time right down to the minute. If you have to meet someone in a specific place, it will even send you notifications at a desired time of your choice to let you know when you should leave your office or another appointment to arrive on time. My favourite part of Google Calendar is that I can invite my business contacts to meetings via email, no matter their email provider. I do this immediately after having a conversation with someone I’m meeting with and they are usually impressed by the turnaround time.

The catch: you have to have a Gmail email account to access Google Calendar.

Calendly

As a supplement to Google Calendar, there is Calendly, which syncs with Google Cal and allows others to choose a meeting time based on your availability. No longer is the hassle of emailing back and forth to find a time. They can simply look through your available times and choose one based on their own schedule. Once booked, it will automatically populate as a new event in your Google Calendar.

With Calendly, you can create a number of different events. For me, I offer a 15 Minute Social Media Discovery Session and a 1 Hour Social Media Audit Consultation. You simply link your prospects or associates to the specific event and they can decide from there. It leaves people feeling good, making it work for themselves and saving a lot of time booking.

The catch: It’s only free for a handful of event types – so for me, two types of events works just fine.

Hiveage

Although there are many invoicing softwares out there, I chose Hiveage. It is a free software, but it allows you to email invoices to your client’s inboxes. I like Hiveage because it allows me to duplicate invoices and my business structure is on a month-to-month payment system. Have a client who isn’t good at paying on time? You can send reminders.

The catch: Like all listed above, it does cost more to add features. Some useful paid features include estimate and bill creation software as well as automation in sending your invoices.

And there are many more I’m likely taking for granted, so stay tuned!

Start Hanging Around the Water Cooler

If you’re like me, you don’t have a water cooler to hang around – just house cats who wrap around your legs as you trudge through the house to achieve the first goal of the day: chugging your morning coffee. It gets kind of lonesome talking to cats all day. Last week, I took a strategic approach and tried to make my working days (which is well, all 7 days of the week), more social.

Network to get work.

If you aren’t out networking, you should be! There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people in business across the GTA. Use Meetup, Eventbrite or Facebook to find events and this will begin to open up your realm of networking activities as well as build your network. Attend at least one networking meeting a week in order to stay on the scene.

Hold a mobile meeting.

It is great to see people face-to-face even if there’s a screen between you on Skype or Google Hangouts. Try to have a couple of these a week in order to keep your communication skills fresh.

Find a work buddy.

Perhaps a fellow friend or colleague is in the same boat as you are. For me, I consult my writer friend who is always brainstorming new book ideas or has her head glued to her latest screen play. We usually end up at the library or a café near us.

Join a team.

In the absence of having a team element in my life, I decided to join my local field hockey league. I like the idea of working together to achieve something you could not do on your own. It is a once a week commitment and it satisfies my need for group progress.

Consider hiring.

Eventually, I’d like to rent an office space where I can work alongside a small team of social media strategists. For now, I will continue haunting my go-to local cafés throughout the week until they throw me out! However, if you’ve considered contracting someone, perhaps you can work in the same space together.

Stay social.

Plan an event with friends once every week or so. You need the down time and your friends will want to see you just as much.

Enjoy the silence.

There’s nothing wrong with being on your own. Once the initial realization that it is possible to work on your own every day kicks in, it becomes a lot easier to get things done. Just don’t get too introspective about it or lose sight of your initial tasks. There are many great tools for that, such as strategic alarms or time management apps to help get you going.

Local Ajax-Whitby Cafés that Promote Productivity

Working from home is all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t always work. You get caught up with household chores or maybe someone else is watching Turner Classic Movies and you just can’t resist Cary Grant’s charm and wise cracks or you decide that the weather is so lovely, you’re going to sit outside and read. A small number of those given scenarios have happened to me, though I won’t say which ones. It’s not that I can’t work from home, it’s just sometimes, I have to get out of the house and into a new, fresh space that may smell similar to a Starbucks, but isn’t a Starbucks. So, I’ve begun to seek out unique, small businesses to support local Continue reading “Local Ajax-Whitby Cafés that Promote Productivity”

When Illness Strikes, the Entrepreneur is Ready to Fight

How do you get back to work when sickness strikes down upon you – or, in this case, springtime allergies? As a solopreneur, I’m feeling the weight of the workload as is, but when you throw in the sickness factor, things get a little out of hand. Here are my suggestions for those trying to conquer workloads while battling sickness. Continue reading “When Illness Strikes, the Entrepreneur is Ready to Fight”

Why I’d Never Call Myself A ‘Virtual Assistant’

Through networking and job postings, I’ve met a series of different people with various job titles – usually the ones they’ve coined for themselves. A term I was introduced to recently was that of a ‘virtual assistant.’ A virtual assistant helps businesses with administrative, creative and social media tasks online. Virtual assistants are typically hired on a contract basis with no employee benefits. They typically work from home and update everything through online channels.

So, what you just read sums up Continue reading “Why I’d Never Call Myself A ‘Virtual Assistant’”

Your Social Media is Doomed If You Keep It Online

Your social media is doomed if you keep it online. It sounds funny saying it aloud, but as time goes on and I see the various businesses I work with growing in different ways and at different rates, I realize that true social media is not online. Rather, it shouldn’t be. Social media is “social”, which implies human interaction. Continue reading “Your Social Media is Doomed If You Keep It Online”

Posting Facebook Dark Ads

What is a Dark Ad?

Facebook dark ads go by a few different names: unpublished posts and sponsored posts. What all of this means is that the post is targeted to a specific audience based on you and your business’ choosing. The dark ad will show up to some people and not others, unlike a regular Facebook post, which is seen by everyone. Whenever you see a post in your News Feed that was not posted by a friend or a page you follow, but appears with a “Sponsored” caption, you are seeing a Facebook dark ad firsthand. You received the advertisement because you were a match for the criteria Continue reading “Posting Facebook Dark Ads”

Where Will I Work Today?

Your workspace defines your work ethic.

I have grown to realize as I work full time that it is hard to keep your workspace interesting. The workspace is a crucial component to how much you get done and how well you do it. One perk of starting a small business is that – for the most part – you can create your own office. Or make it up as you go along, which has been a fun but time-consuming daily exercise for myself. “Where will I work today?” is a question on new business owners’ minds Continue reading “Where Will I Work Today?”

A Recipe for Standing Out

When it comes to finding a job or a new client, new business owners and those just starting out on the job hunt are nervous and uncertain about what others are thinking. What if I told you I don’t schedule meetings anymore, but that I am called up and asked to meet regularly? Continue reading “A Recipe for Standing Out”